Welcome to the first installment of our new style series, curated especially for boutique buyers.
From assortment planning to sales planning, we've learned a lot in our many years as retail buyers: how to prepare for market, the importance of a robust inventory management system, and how to switch to an agile mindset that will allow you to pivot quickly based on changing trends—because that's just it. Albeit cliche, fashion trends depart just as quickly as they arrive, and today's customer isn't willing to wait six months for merchandise to hit their local boutique after seeing it on the runway.
An awareness of current trends coupled with powerful retail inventory and reporting technology is critical to giving your brand an edge in an increasingly competitive market. This column is designed for busy boutique owners and buyers who need a quick snapshot of the former, with tips for how to best use the latter for buying, merchandising, and even negotiating.
When it comes to fashion, we always want to know what the "next big thing" will be. As a retail buyer, you want to be ahead of the game so you can stock up on the merchandise your customers will be asking for next season, or even sooner. That's why we've done the homework for you. From shades of green to tattered textures and 60s-inspired psychedelic prints, we've got the scoop on what will be in demand and flying off the shelves.
SHADES OF GREEN
While neon colors have been in the spotlight this year, pay close attention to more subtle shades of green next season. From Chive to Biscay—two hues on Pantone's 2020 Color Report—this is the next "it" color. Faherty's Muriel Jacket is the perfect piece a boho winter Woodstock vibe.
Pair greens with neutral tones or play with mixing shades for a monochromatic store display.
60s WALLPAPER PRINTS
Wild, psychedelic 1960s and 70s prints are about to have their moment among both men's and women's fashion. The flower power revolution is back for weekend wear, with styles like this RVCA woven shirt (available from SR customer Val Surf!). Be on the lookout for even more throwback retro prints that resemble vintage wallpaper, in the best of ways.
Pair wild prints with jeans and a wide-brimmed hat as we head into spring. For women who are turned off by the boxy fit of this shirt style, leave the bottom unbuttoned and knotted instead.
Nothing says effortlessly chic like neutral tones; make sure your store is well stocked with cozy-chic natural colors that are easy to accessorize and can be styled in a variety of ways. From fashionable work wear to playful date night looks, nude is about to become a go-to. XCVI is ahead of the curve, already carrying an assortment of soft and relaxed-fit neutral pieces.
The best thing about neutrals is they merchandise well with just about anything. Pair them with some of your bolder colors and prints, or use as a blank canvas for showing off statement jewelry, bags, and other accessories.
Both men and women will be making a statement in anything and everything leopard. Already a fashion favorite in years past, this print always seems to crawl back into our closets. We saw it on the runway, and it wildly got our attention. Take a page out of Dress Up or Shop Siany's book and take a walk on the wild side next season.
Play it safe by displaying leopard with other neutral pieces, or take a chance on some careful print mixing: leopard and stripes tend to work well together.
Remember, if something isn't selling well in your store, the problem may not be in the product itself, but rather where in the store it is! Keep an eye on your sales data; if leopard and stripes just aren't moving, the display may not be resonating with your customers. Here's a post about how to use retail data for store merchandising.
This isn't your grandma's crochet: think feminine styles like fitted dresses, bralettes, and beach cover-ups. This tattered look is no longer just for colder months either; Scout & Molly's crochet maxi skirt is a unique take on the trend.
Crochet pieces hanging limp on a hanger don't always resonate; this is a great style to have your sales associates model while working the floor. In fact, doing so is a perfect way to show off any slow-moving merchandise; some things just look better "on!"
Bralettes should be a staple in your women's apparel boutique. They're a great go-to solution for the customer who asks "what should I wear under this?" from the dressing room. But they're also currently trending on their own—just look at this outfit from fab'rik—which makes them even more of a no-brainer.
Always keep a stack of these folder by the cash wrap; most likely one of your lower price point items, they're an easy add-on that customers will often throw in while checking out. Also be sure that you have some folded or hanging with any sweaters or tops that specifically need an additional layer.
What'd we miss? Stay tuned for our next installment — all about holiday fashion!
*Article cover photo courtesy of Dress Up.
Being on top of fashion trends is only the first half of the battle.
Learn how a powerful retail management system can help streamline the buying process by arming you with data that will save you both time and money!
Topics: Retail Buying